Since we first presented Cesium (not counting the one slide it showed up in for a guest lecture a few months prior), we recognized that supporting standard formats is key to success. “Content is king” is the catchphrase. Cesium alone is cool, but if users can’t get their data into it, it’s useless to them.
We’ve done some nice work for content so far. In particular, Cesium supports six imagery providers. We continue to work on terrain. We started CZML, and for vector data, created converters for KML and Shapefiles (there’s also one for WebGL Globe JSON, but that was really just to get our feet wet).
We still have significant improvements to make:
- 3D Models
- We started discussing 3D models back in June. Since then, we prototyped enough that it was demoed at ITSEC with great success. We wanted to make more progress, but the Santa tracker took precedence. Good news - my plate is starting to clear, and other folks have expressed interest in helping with 3D models and related optimization pipelines and authoring tools. The roadmap page is almost up-to-date.
- Longer-term, in addition to just drawing models, we plan to support the emerging Rest3D REST API for accessing models from the cloud. We hope to see several services support Rest3D, providing Cesium users with quite a selection of 3D model content.
- We expect some big improvements to CZML and the DynamicScene in Cesium as we rework and finalize the spec.
- I personally would like to see
- A separate CZML mailing list for CZML spec discussion. This will help keep the community-based spirit and will create archives for how the spec was created, like the GeoJSON archives.
- Tell the OGC what we’ve done so far, that we are starting the mailing list, and that we welcome early input since we ultimately intend to propose this as an OGC standard.
- Determine if CZML fits the vector data needs for OpenLayers 3.
- An adoption plan:
- What key converters do we need an on-ramp to CZML? When do we write custom code for the Cesium client to handle formats that we can convert to CZML?
- What is the future of the GeoServer CZML writer? When do we write a converter vs. rely on GeoServer?
- What other key apps should support CZML? OpenLayers? Google Maps?
- Vector Data
- Improve the workflow for importing vector data. Conversion from KML will be seamless. Conversion from Shapefiles will not require the custom code it requires now.
- Continue to add more complete support for KML (currently supported feature).
- Add support for GeoJSON.
- Improve polyline styling with the material system.
- Polygons, polylines, and billboards on terrain.
- A table-of-contents widget will enable end-users to access and manage content in Cesium Viewer and other Cesium apps.
- (This is minor) - We need at least a temporary place, even on the website, to host assets like higher-resolution sky boxes for stars, etc.
Thoughts and other ideas?